The way I see it, Masters Cricket is the most exciting Cricket in the world and the Leeward Islands Masters’ Cricket tournament, tops the list.
The Leewards Masters’ Cricket tournament was played in Nevis from 18th to 20th May and it was a super tournament.
The visiting teams, all praised the efforts of the Nevis Masters’ Association, for so wonderfully hosting and talking care of them, even if they did not all love the decision making process, in establishing the top teams, after rain affected the tournament.
Amazingly, people still express surprise at seeing me, not only play the game, but excel at it, even at my age. Some people still only associate my expertise, as limited to the use of a video camera, when it comes to sports.
Well I newa!
Well let me clear the air once and for all.
I grew up playing cricket in Fenton Hill, at home on a dicey track when the limes and sour oranges and milk cans and balls made from bike tubes and paper soaked in water, would rise up nastily one minute and shoot off, the next. I later played really great cricket at Zion School, alongside the likes of my outstanding cousin, Lewis Newton and at one time, people used to debate which one of us was better.
I later debuted for the Charlestown Secondary school team at age twelve and that is where things went haywire.
Lewis went on to become one of the finest batsmen known to Nevis cricket and I majored in another field: Calypso.
However, that never quenched my thirst for the game, nor the natural abilities that God has blessed me with.
And in case you are wondering why I still refuse to bat in helmets, that is how we grew up and besides, I tried the equipment once and when a fast bowler was coming in, it was so slack that it fell clean over my eyes and thank God the delivery went wide of me and the stumps. I have never worn one since.
This particular Masters’ tournament, I had a really good outing but you know what I find amazing?
People always highlight the bad and the good you do, goes into oblivion.
Imagine, in the first match we played versus the Antigua—the mighty and full ah chat Antigua and Barbuda, I may add, who were supposed to beat up on everybody, I made 19 runs batting at number three and picked up 3 wickets for 24 runs, to earn man of the match honours, despite a scintillating 74 by Carlos Adolphus.
However, in the dying moments of that game, I dropped a not too difficult catch on the mid-wicket boundary and where I came off the field, at least six persons in referring to the game, could only recall that I dropped a DOLLY catch. They could not remember anything else that I did.
Well I newa!
I picked up five wickets in the four matches I played (I did not play in the aborted match on the Sabbath) and could have gotten at least four more, but for chances that went a begging.
In the semifinal match versus St. Maarten, I came in at number five and we were definitely behind the eight ball, in terms of the required run rate.
I did not need the skipper nor management to tell me what to do. My experience as a captain of my local team, dictated that somebody had to swing. I told Ardie to play his natural game and I went swinging!
By the time I got out after hitting a few twos and a six, we were back in business but when I came off, my good friend Raffie Wallace told me: ‘That’s the last time you are playing for Nevis!’
Fortunately, persons who were a lot more sober, realized and recognized my efforts and it was great to hear from the master of them all, himself, Derrick Ricaldo Parry: ‘Great effort!’
Speaking of Mr. Parry. He is truly an inspiration and when I see someone like him, perform as well as he does at age sixty three, I know I will continue, as long as God lends me breath and energy.
Parry bowled superbly in this tournament and sometimes spun the ball almost as well as he did many years ago, when he got 9 for 76 versus a mighty Jamaica team!
DANGO Farrell was a little sore when he was given out for obstruction when we played against St. Maarten, but DANGO knows better.
How could DANGO play a ball in front of him and move up the track exploring a single and when the wicketkeeper came up behind him to grab the ball, in an effort to run him out, tap the ball with his bat, to the bowler? The umpire sent him on his way. DANGO literally dragged himself away from the playing area and left his partner at the other end, Adam Sandford, fuming about the batsman only trying to help!
But all in all, it was a tremendous tournament. I think our team used about two cases of the popular BENGUE formula and I am not sure how many will be able to show up for work on Tuesday, but so be it, it’s all in the game and in the name of the venerable masters.
May God grant us strength and enduring friendships, to continue to entertain crowds, all across the region, for many more moons to come.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?